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Politics and Government

New arrest warrant issued for Tina Peters after she allegedly violated protection order, bond conditions

The alleged violations stem from an email Peters sent seeking a recount of votes in her loss in last month's Republican primary for secretary of state

Mesa County, Colo., clerk Tina Peters, who was indicted in March on 11 felony and misdemeanor charges related to allegations she and others tampered with secure voting equipment and software, talks to well-wishers at a rally staged to voice concerns about free and fair elections on the west steps of the State Capitol Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in downtown Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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An arrest warrant was issued Thursday afternoon for indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters — the second in as many weeks — after she allegedly violated a protection order and the conditions of her bond by sending an email seeking a recount of votes in the Republican primary for secretary of state last month, which she lost.

The warrant, sought by the Fruita Police Department, alleges Peters sent the email on Wednesday at about 2:45 a.m. to Mesa County Elections Director Brandi Bantz, with whom she is barred from having contact. 

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A warrant was issued for Peters’ arrest last week after she traveled to Las Vegas without first getting a judge’s permission as is required. She traveled to Nevada to speak at a conference. 

The warrant was quashed, however, after Peters’ criminal defense attorney, Harvey Steinberg, took responsibility for failing to let the court know about Peters’ travels and for not knowing that her bond conditions had changed to require court approval for out-of-state trips.

In quashing the warrant, Mesa County District Court Judge Matthew David Barrett instructed Peters to carefully abide by her bond conditions going forward. 

Peters was indicted in March on 10 counts, including allegations of attempting to influence a public servant and criminal impersonation. The charges stem from a security breach of her county’s election system last year.

Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley and the former Mesa County elections manager, Sandra Brown, have also been charged in the election system security breach.

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Peters, an election conspiracy theorist, was running for Colorado secretary of state but lost in the June 28 Republican primary.

Peters sought a recount of the votes in the primary, alleging malfeasance but failing to provide any evidence. She did not, however, pay for the recount up front — roughly $250,000 — as is required by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

On Wednesday, Peters sent an email to several individual county clerks, including elections officials in Mesa County, saying that she would be requesting a hand recount from them.  

The Colorado County Clerks Association said the request was improper.

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“Tina Peters’ request again shows her complete lack of knowledge about the rules and laws that underpin Colorado elections,” Matt Crane, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said in a written statement.  “There is nothing in Colorado law that allows her to make this request directly to one or more counties. Our clerks have been working diligently throughout this primary election to carry out the full range of tests, audits and other checks they complete each election. And again, our results were proven safe and accurate.”

Crane added that “Peters’ request is part of a larger effort to create chaos, disrupt, and cause doubt in our elections.

“Voters already sent a resounding message to these people by ensuring that election deniers on the ballot across the state were rejected,” he said. “This seems like just another stunt to try and seem legitimate.  At this point, rather than trying to continue to deceive Colorado citizens with her election lies and lack of knowledge, we encourage Tina to let the true election professionals in Colorado continue to do the work that voters elected them to do, which is run accessible, secure, and transparent elections for Colorado citizens.”

A message left Thursday evening for Steinberg, Peters’ criminal defense attorney, was not immediately returned.


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